Author Archives: Elysse F.

March 26, 2014

Half a Chance

Posted by at 1:40 am in Reads | Permalink

Half a Chance book coverHalf a Chance (for ages 8-12) by Cynthia Lord

Lucy’s family is on the move again. This time they end up in a rickety, red house on a lake in New Hampshire. At least she has her dog, Ansel, to keep her company.

Half a Chance book coverThe day after they move in, Lucy’s dad is off again to Arizona. As a famous photographer, this is nothing new. Lucy just wishes it wasn’t for two months. Before he leaves, Lucy finds out that at the end of the summer her dad will be judging a photo contest. She secretly begins taking photos and planning to enter the contest.

As Lucy tries to prove to her dad that she has what it takes to be a true photographer, she also has to make friends in a new place. She meets Nate and Emily. Nate’s Grandma Lilah is part of a team who wants to protect a family of loons living on the lake. Since she is too old to kayak out there and check on them every day, Nate and Emily bring Lucy along for the ride, and Lucy, of course, brings her camera. But what she sees through her camera lens is not necessarily what her new friends want to see.

Read Chapter 1 and let us know what you think of this new book by the Newbery Honor-winning author of Rules.

—Elysse, STACKS Writer

March 19, 2014

Swindle Sequel: Jackpot

Posted by at 1:22 am in Gordon Korman, Reads | Permalink

Jackpot book cover by Gordon KormanJackpot (for ages 8-12) by Gordon Korman

Here’s the scoop: Someone on Long Island bought a lottery ticket worth $29,876,454.53. The problem is they never cashed it in. It’s missing, and it needs to be found soon. The deadline for cashing it is one year, and that year is almost up.

Griffin and his friends live near where the multi-million-dollar ticket was bought. As revenge for multiple bullying incidents, they team up and send Darren Vader on a wild goose chase digging through the garbage cans of Cedarville (thinking that the ticket is in one of them). However, the prank goes awry and soon, people from all over are Dumpster diving, hoping to find the missing lottery ticket.

Plus, there’s a new kid in town who might actually hate Griffin more than Darren does: Victor Phoenix. Victor sees Griffin as a bully. Next thing he knows, Griffin’s friends are spending their time with Victor and not him. It seems like everyone is against him!

Griffin resorts to his worst nightmare: working with Darren to find out who purchased that missing lottery ticket. Do they succeed? Or is that prize money as good as gone? Read Chapter 1 now!

What would you do if you won almost 30 million dollars? Tell us in the Comments below!

—Elysse, STACKS Writer

March 12, 2014

A Snicker of Magic Book Review

Posted by at 1:28 am in Reads | Permalink

A Snicker of MagicA Snicker of Magic (for ages 8-12) by Natalie Lloyd

Felicity has always been different. She can see words, but not just the kind written on paper or typed on a computer screen. Felicity can see the words of people around her. Their thoughts and whispers, feelings and dreams are alive to her. Some are glittery; some have feet like caterpillars, and one is even full of lightning bolts. She collects them in her little blue book that she always carries with her.

A Snicker of Magic book cover by Natalie LloydFelicity’s mother, Holly Pickles, has a wandering heart, and has never settled down long enough to call anywhere “home.” Midnight Gulch may be different, though. Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away.

Now, for the first time, Felicity has a best friend, and she will do anything to convince her mom that they need to stay. But first, she’ll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that’s been cast over the town . . . and her mother’s broken heart.

Will Felicity be able to call the magical Midnight Gulch home? Read Chapter 1 and see if you get hooked! What kind of magic you would have if you lived in Midnight Gulch? Share in the Comments section!

–Elysse, STACKS Writer

February 19, 2014

Gold Medal Winter Book Review

Posted by at 1:23 am in Reads | Permalink

Gold Medal WinterGold Medal Winter (for ages 10-14) by Donna Freitas

“It’s called the Kiss and Cry for just this reason — it’s the place where you potentially experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, all caught on camera for the world to see.”

Gold Medal Winter book cover by Donna FreitasDiscovered by Olympic gold medalist Lucy Chen at age ten, Esperanza Flores has a natural talent for figure skating. Now at sixteen, Espi has earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team! A Dominican-American Cinderella story, dubbed Spiñorita, she is “America’s hope for gold at the Olympics.”

Being a new member of the Olympic team isn’t easy. She must work hard on her routine perfecting a secret trick – a quadruple Salchow which has never been attempted at an Olympic event by a female. There are also her teammates Stacie and Meredith, who make it clear that they don’t like her. And then, there are the boys . . . A gorgeous ice prince named Hunter is vying for her attention, but Espi can’t help but be drawn to a sweet and shy hockey player named Danny.

Does Espi land the quadruple Salchow? Can she choose between Hunter and Danny? Most importantly, does she win a gold medal? If you are loving the Sochi Winter Olympics, then read Chapter 1 of Gold Medal Winter and see if you get hooked.

If you could pick an Olympic sport to compete in, what would it be? Comment below!

—Elysse, STACKS Writer

February 5, 2014

The Lost Boy Book Review

Posted by at 1:07 am in Graphic Novels, Reads | Permalink

The Lost BoyThe Lost Boy by Greg Ruth (a graphic novel for ages 8-12)

There’s something spooky about Nate’s new house in Crow’s Woods. When Nate gets to pick his own room, he never expects to find a note addressed to him in the floorboards. Along with it is a series of old recordings, all made by a boy named Walter Pidgin.The Lost Boy book cover by Greg Ruth

Walt’s story takes place in the 1950s. Walt takes his mother’s tape recorder with him wherever he goes, documenting his life, especially when weird things start to happen. Dogs and cats start to go missing, and Walt thinks he sees crickets riding dogs and a doll that moves and speaks. And there’s a talking squirrel. He thinks he is going crazy, so he sets off to investigate.

Meanwhile, in the present, Nate starts seeing the same things Walt described on his tapes. His nosy neighbor Tabitha joins him when he decides to seek out answers. Signs are beginning to show that a dark force is about to escape, and Nate and Tabitha must save the town from the evil Vespertine before his powers completely take over Crow’s Woods.

The Lost Boy is a suspenseful mystery with a twist of fantasy. The artwork and the writing makes the characters jump off the page, sucking you right into the story. Read Chapter 1 and let us know what you think in the Comments!

–Elysse, STACKS Writer

January 22, 2014

Grave Images Book Review

Posted by at 1:46 am in Reads | Permalink

graveimages130Grave Images (for ages 8-12) by Jenny Goebel 

Bernie is a budding artist who is spending her summer working at her family’s home-run Monument Company. Her dad carves headstones for graves. Bernie doesn’t have many friends – there isn’t much room to play in a backyard full of granite – but she is preoccupied with discovering the truth about a new mystery man named Mr. Stein who is working for her father.graveimages

Abbot Stein appeared out of nowhere one day with a granite carving of a woman so life-like it took Bernie’s breath away. Her father hired Mr. Stein on the spot to do engravings for the headstones. Bernie can’t figure out how Mr. Stein captures the essence of the deceased with only a chisel and a hammer, but she is determined to find out. So she spies on him.

Through her spying, Bernie finds out something fishy about Mr. Stein. He is carving portraits of people right before they die! This could only mean one of two things: 1) Mr. Stein is foretelling death, or 2) he is causing death in Stratwood! How else could he know the people were going to die?

Is someone Bernie cares about going to be the next victim? Read this spooky tale for ages 8-12 to find out! Chapter 1 Sneak Peek

—Elysse, STACKS Writer

January 15, 2014

The Lost Kingdom Book Review

Posted by at 1:45 am in Reads | Permalink

lostkingdom130The Lost Kingdom (for ages 9-12) by Matthew J. Kirby

It is Billy’s dream to be like his father, a famous botanist in the American colonies who specializes in studying strange and unusual plant life. His garden has plants and visitors from around the world, including famous men like Ben Franklin. Billy always hoped his father would invite him to go on one of his expeditions in the wilderness, so he is thrilled when his father invites him to go on an unusual expedition: to find the lost kingdom of Prince Madoc.lostkingdom

Legend says that the Welsh Prince Madoc sailed to the New World and started a kingdom in Ohio centuries before Columbus. Billy’s father is a member of a secret society of patriots that wants to find the mythical Welsh-speakers and gain them as allies in the French and Indian War.

A crew of philosophers (and one stowaway girl) board a flying airship for their search. But the journey to the American frontier is full of dangers. Along the way, they encounter spies, traitors, French soldiers, and mythical wild beasts. How will they fare on their treacherous journey? Read the first chapter and let us know what you think in the Comments.

—Elysse, STACKS Writer

January 8, 2014

Japanese Tsunami Survival Story

Posted by at 1:35 am in Reads | Permalink

I Survived The Japanese Tsunami 2011I Survived: The Japanese Tsunami, 2011 by Lauren Tarshis

“And as it got closer to Japan’s coast, it got bigger. It grew and grew, until it was a monstrous wall of water, dozens of feet high, hundreds of miles long. It destroyed everything in its path.”

Since his father died in a car crash, Ben is a different person. He alienates I Survived The Japanese Tsunami 2011 book cover by Lauren Tarshishis friends and teammates; he no longer takes pleasure from his favorite game – basketball. Ben doesn’t make time for his five-year-old brother Harry either, and his mother is concerned. She decides to take the boys to his father’s hometown, Shogahama, Japan. His great-Uncle Ojisan tries to take their minds off of Ben’s dad’s death, but Ben’s grief is too strong.

One day during his visit, there is a massive earthquake. From California, Ben is used to earthquakes, but this one is stronger than any other he has experienced before. Then, the unthinkable happens: a tsunami comes rushing towards them and he becomes separated from everyone. Stuck in a village where he does not know the language, will he ever be reunited with his family?

Read chapter 1 to get a sneak peek at this new book. If you like survival adventure stories, there are many more in the I Survived series! Tell us which one is your favorite in the Comments below!

–Elysse, STACKS Writer

December 11, 2013

The Third Door by Emily Rodda

Posted by at 1:30 am in Reads | Permalink

thirddoor130The Third Door by Emily Rodda (Sequel to The Golden Door and The Silver Door)

Twice before, Rye has risked his life to venture outside the walled city of Weld. He left determined to find his lost brothers and destroy the enemy sending brutal flying beasts called skimmers to attack Weld. But while Rye and his traveling companion, Sonia, managed to find Rye’s brothers, they couldn’t find the source of the skimmers. Weld is still under the gravest threat.

Now one Door out of the city remains: the wooden Door, an ancient entrance that has intrigued Rye thirddoorsince the start of his quest. Rye knows the wooden Door is his final chance. One way or another, Rye’s mission to save Weld will end here. But nothing can prepare him for the shocking discovery that lies behind the third Door.

When Rye and his companions step through the third and final Door, they immediately sense something is wrong. Darkness surrounds the door, and Rye can’t shake away his uneasiness. Where in the world are they?

As they explore the mysterious Fell End and beyond, nothing is as it seems. There are traitors everywhere, and Rye doesn’t know whom to trust with the secrets he uncovers. When he becomes separated from his brothers and Sonia, Rye struggles to remember who he is and what his mission is.

They are running out of time. The evil Shadow Lord is breeding skimmers to attack during the day, not just the night, and people around the world will never be safe. Will the third time be the charm for Rye and Sonia to save Weld? Read and find out!

Read a sample chapter here and tell us what you think about this action-filled book, teeming with adventures, magic, and mythical creatures! Then comment away!

—Elysse, STACKS Writer